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Science

Study Shows Longer Commutes Lead to Crappier Marriages; That Explains Los Angeles

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Thu, May 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge Ahnold's true downfall?
  • Ahnold's true downfall?
A study recently conducted in Sweden can tell Los Angeles a lot about its trafficky, sexually frustrated self. After following the work and home habits of over 2 million Swedes for five years, researchers at Umeå University found that "the risk of separation is 40 percent higher among long-distance commuters than among other people."

Guess this means we can't blame the former governor for his many emerging infidelities, what with that painful private-plane commute from Brentwood to Sacramento every time the girly men of the state legislature got out of line. (With one alleged mistress even on the plane.) Science made him do it!

"One of the long-term risks with commuting is that it can sustain gender-based stereotypes both at home and in the labour market," author Erica Sandow told the Local.

Of course, L.A. provides a much different backdrop than the pastoral IKEA paradise of northwestern Europe.

For one, our blondes are fake.

But we'd also like to think our gender politics are somewhat less traditional than in Sweden, where researchers blame the study's high divorce rates on the alienating divide between a commuting man and his stay-at-home wife. Here in L.A., feminism runs freer in that we all get to sit in freeway traffic for two hours, twice a goddamn day, even if that just means ferrying the kids to soccer practice one burrough over.

But that probably just deepens the bitter divide between couples.

L.A. isn't ranked as having the worst commute in the country, nor the most divorces, but we'd like to think our ridiculous traffic and raging infidelity problem (too many beautiful people driving SUVs) could account for some off-the-books pointage.

"We don't know today what the increase in commuting will mean to society in the long run and it is important to look at the social costs involved as well," Sandow said.

As if we needed another reason to avoid the 405 at rush hour.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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